News 2008


Agenda for the 10th Parliament outlined

Written By:pps (Presidential Press Service)

Thu, Mar 06, 2008

President Mwai Kibaki Thursday expressed confidence that the country shall overcome the setbacks it faced recently and create a solid foundation for development.

The President also challenged Members of Parliament to prioritize the agenda of building a new Kenya above any individual or sectarian interests.

President Kibaki, who was speaking when he presiding over the State Opening of the 10th parliament, said that the country was keen to resume its path of development in all aspects in spite of the post election violence.

During the occasion the President thanked Kenyans for their resilience as individuals and as a country during the critical moment witnessed immediately after the December 27th general elections and even in other similar events in the past.

President Kibaki urged wananchi to use the crisis as a crucial turning point and come out more focused and determined to stay on course so as to realize their collective vision of a free, just and prosperous nation.

"The events of the last two months have offered us an opportunity to look inwards and fully comprehend both the weaknesses and threats on one hand and strengths and opportunities we have as a nation," said the President.

He added: "As a nation, we have come through a challenging two months since the December 27th General Elections. The post-election violence that saw more than 1,000 people killed, over 300,000 were displaced and billions of shillings worth of property burnt or looted shook our sense of nationhood."

The President assured those affected by the post-election violence that the Government had set up a National Humanitarian Assistance Fund with an initial endowment of 1 billion shillings to provide humanitarian assistance and resettle the displaced persons.

He said that a new Directorate of Resettlement had been created to oversee the resettlement of the internally displaced persons, help them restore their livelihoods and become economically engaged the soonest possible.

President Kibaki pointed out that the National Accord signed last week between him and ODM leader Raila Odinga was hinged on the understanding that the public had spoken clearly that they wanted a united Kenya, in which all people lived in peace, justice and harmony.

The President said: "Indeed, Kenyans will always prefer peace over conflict, prosperity over desolation, unity over discord, and justice over injustice. This is why on February 28, I and Honourable Raila Odinga accepted and signed the National Accord because our people had spoken clearly that they wanted one Kenya, in which all lived in peace, justice and harmony."

The Head of State, however, noted that the successful implementation of the accord required goodwill, unity, good faith and integrity from the August House and all other leaders in the country because it would lay the foundation for peace and stability in the country.

He, at the same, time urged parliamentarians to ensure that all the necessary bills to implement the accord and other social and economic reforms are passed as a matter of priority so that Kenya can be fully restored to, and even exceed its former glory.

"I urge honorable members to ensure that all the necessary bills to implement the Accord and other social and economic reforms are dealt with promptly so that Kenya can be fully restored to, and even exceed its former glory," said President Kibaki.

In this regard, President Kibaki said the Coalition Government will introduce and give priority to the following bills:

  • The National Accord and Reconciliation Bill,
  • The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill,
  • The Establishment of Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission Bill
  • The Establishment of the Ethnic Relations Commission of Kenya Bill.

The President also urged Members of Parliament to be fully involved in promoting and leading various peace and reconciliation committees because the post-election violence had stretched inter community relations to a breaking point.

President Kibaki added that Parliament, as the representative body of all Kenyans, must rise to its momentous responsibility of restoring peace, security as well as law and order in the country, urging parliamentarians to become ambassadors of peace and reconciliation in the country.

"Honourable Members, you must now become the ambassadors of peace and reconciliation in your constituencies, among your communities and throughout the country. Kenyans need to hear and be reassured by their political leaders that they can live, own property and do business in any part of the country without fear of prejudice, harassment or persecution," President Kibaki said.

In this regard, the President said that the Government would bring to the House a comprehensive policy and accompanying legislation that would ensure that the threat to national security and social cohesion caused by negative ethnicity is neutralized for the well being of our country.

On national security, the President assured Kenyans that the Government would sponsor legislation and policies that can safeguard security of all while at the same time protecting the rights and freedoms of the citizenry.

Noting that Kenya has witnessed irreversible changes particularly in enjoying their freedoms of association and expression without fear, the President urged them to uphold the responsibility, which is enjoined to the enjoyment of such rights.

"As a people, we are now fully aware of our rights and freedoms to whatever we want. At times, however, it is evident that we are yet to fully comprehend that real freedom and liberty also comes with the responsibility of ensuring that in enjoying our rights, we do not do harm to others," said the President.

On infrastructure, the President said that comprehensive measures will be undertaken to operationalize the Urban, Rural and National Highways Authorities as well as register and build the capacity of local contractors.

On gender issues, the resident Kibaki reiterated the Government's commitment to promote gender equity.

"We will continue to support the current policy of ensuring that 30 percent of public appointments and new employment opportunities are reserved for women," said the Head of State.

The President also outlined the Government's priority legislative and policy proposals in several key sectors among them agriculture which needs to be assisted to recover quickly from the recent setbacks it faced.

"The past five years have seen the agriculture sector perform robustly from the policies implemented by my Government. We, therefore, expect it to recover quickly from the recent setbacks it has faced," observed the President.

Other key sectors include the tourism industry, legislation to entrench the recent reforms in the education sector within our country's laws, amendments to the Armed Forces Act to enable youth trained under the National Youth Service be absorbed in the armed forces as well as legislation and policies that safeguard our national security.

Later, President Kibaki mingled and chatted freely with other members of the Tenth Parliament at Parliament grounds.